When Marriage Hurts: A Literature Review of Embedded Jewellery Ring Injuries

Cureus. 2020 Nov 22;12(11):e11624. doi: 10.7759/cureus.11624.


A ring is traditionally worn as a symbol of love and affection or as decorative ornamental jewellery. However, rings are not without risk. The spectrum of danger can range from debilitating avulsion injuries to simple contact dermatitis. Unknown to many, an unusual rarity exists; previous authors have termed this entity 'embedded ring syndrome'. We sought to review the literature and collate evidence on the common features of this syndrome. A literature review was performed on cases reported from 1947 to 2017 accessed through the healthcare database advanced search (HDAS). A total of 28 cases were analysed for demographics, symptomatology and operative techniques. Overall, 64.3% were females, and 50% had a psychiatric comorbidity. There was a causative event preceding the injury in 35.7% of cases; 71.4% had a reduced range of movement or reported a stiff finger and 32.1% had reduced sensation. The majority of patients underwent ring removal and primary closure, without documentation as to whether neurovascular bundles and tendons were visualised. Embedded ring injuries are rare. Consequently, information is sparsely available regarding its natural history and management. The hand surgeon's approach requires an understanding that the chronicity of these injuries can have a significant traumatic impact on the structures of the finger.

Keywords: embedded ring; hand injury; ring injury; tourniquet; trauma.

Publication types

  • Review